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Chief Operating Officer – Chef’d

El Segundo, CA

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Chef’d Overview:

With over 1,500 recipes from some of the best names in food—celebrity chefs, major brands, and culinary influencers, Chef’d is the only subscription-free meal marketplace allowing you to discover new foods the way you want—no strings attached.

Headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., Chef’d is an e-commerce meal marketplace that partners with some of the world’s largest consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies (think Smithfield, Coke, and Campbell’s), retail grocers (currently rolling out at Gelson’s, Costco and >20 others), massive food-service platforms (like Aramark), media outlets (NY Times) and more than 100 celebrated chefs/culinary influencers to offer thousands of meal solutions that make it easy for anyone to cook high-quality meals at home. Launched in late April 2015, Chef’d was created to help consumers rethink the home-cooked meal by offering fresh, pre-portioned ingredients that aim to eliminate food waste and in turn cut consumer grocery costs, all without the hassle of subscription or membership fees.

Highlights & Differentiators:

Massive Growing Market

  • Piper Jaffray projects the meal kit market to grow from $5B today to $36B in 2025!
  • Overall, 9% of Americans say they’ve purchased a meal kit in the last six months: 10.5 million households (with 3 of 4 planning to purchase again)
  • 25% of consumers say they would consider trying a meal kit in the next six months: 30 million potential customers!
  • In-store meal kits generated $154.6 million in sales, posting growth increases of 26% year-over-year (Nielsen).

Execution and Revenue Growth

  • Chef’d’s mid-8-fugure (run-rate) revenues are up 10x from 2016 & projected to grow 3x (YoY) For the next three years
  • In-store meal kits generated $154.6 million in sales, posting growth of more than 26% year-over-year (Nielsen) and Chef’d has closed deals with >120 grocery partners and will be rolling out in 6,000 stores in the near future
  • Chef’d is the undisputed leader for in-store meal kit sales, with more than 2X the volume of the closest comp. Retail sales are more than doubling monthly!
  • Growth is not constrained by demand or volume, only by Chef’d’s ability to build capacity and continue to execute

Expansion Capital

  • Chef’d closed its $35M Series B last summer led by Smithfield Foods—the world’s largest pork producer alongside Campbell Soup (a major partner) and prior investor Fresh Direct.
  • Chef’d is in the process of raising its Series C financing targeted at $100M

Omni-Channel Distribution

  • Meal kits in the workplace based on vending strategies like Bite and same day delivery like Deliv represent alternative distribution channels Chef’d is soon to launch
  • Internet of Things (IoT) is an emerging market.  Chef’d is powering the meal planning app on Samsung’s connected fridge (debuting at CES ‘19), driving user adoption for the stealth mode Brava connected oven and being the fulfillment arm for the meals for the new kitchen appliance Suvie, The Kitchen Robot.
  • Partnerships with the American Diabetes Assn. (ADA), the Univ. of Pittsburgh Medical Center and a major pharma company are focused on preventing and controlling disease with healthy meals!
  • Multiple pilots are happening across all Chef’d channels.

No Subscription Required, Mass Customization, CAC & LTV are the Big Differentiators

  • In addition to executing on its vision of putting a buy button on any recipe on the web, Chef’d offers consumers unparalleled selection, personalization all without requiring a subscription
  • As CEO Kyle Ransford explains it, “As for lifetime value, we’re more like an online grocery store where you’re not forced to use us every week. If you’re forced to buy every week or quit as you are in the subscription-based meal kit model, then people are going to quit.”
  • Because of the leverage in its omni-channel selling strategy, Chef’d’s cost to acquire a customer is ~10% ($15 vs. $150) of competitors like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh as the Customer Acquisition Costs or CAC are largely assumed by the brand partners and influencers.
  • Meanwhile, Chef’d’s brand partners are engaging them as a digital agency for photography, video production and Celebrity Chef influencers in their acquisition campaigns.  Chef’d content will be broadcast on upcoming QVC and Hell’s Kitchen episodes.

Insights into The COO’s Charter:

Chef’d continues to experience hyper-growth in its revenue, distribution outlets, national fulfillment facilities and internally with new Associates at all levels. In the last six months a world-class leadership team has come together including CTO, CMO, CRO, CFO, Chief Data Officer and SVP of People. Co-Founder & CEO, Kyle Ransford, is seeking the final and arguably most important piece of the puzzle, a COO to transform the company from a resourceful, hard-charging startup, to a $Billion enterprise known for operational excellence.

Chef’d seeks a world-class Operator, gifted leader and communicator who will:

  • Own streamlining the current operation and go to market—selling through brand, distribution and retail partners (eComm and Retail)
  • Standardize & Optimize teams, processes and legacy systems across the 4 current facilities (El Segundo, Pico Rivera and 2 in Brooklyn)
  • Lead & Mentor sizeable (350+) and rapidly growing Ops team to swiftly achieve efficiencies that will support accelerated revenue growth
  • Design & Build Chef’d’s vision–an AI powered direct-to-consumer (D2C) platform realizing highly personalized mass customization by recruiting, hiring and leveraging external experts
  • Navigate the technological and cultural challenges required to manage the current state of play while building the future

Profile of the Ideal COO Candidate

The ideal COO will come out of distributed fulfillment and logistics enterprises where high velocity, volume and quality were the hallmarks that enabled growth and superior customer sat. This individual will bring a track record of success in building highly efficient end to end processes, systems, facilities and teams in both startup environments and enterprises at scale and a reputation as an inspirational leader, strategic partner and data-driven innovator.

The selected COO will be/bring:

  • Depth in all things supply chain (ideally where perishable “components” were the order of the day), sourcing, distribution and logistics.
  • Legacy as well as next generation warehouse automation especially in a sophisticated pick/pack conveyor-type operation ideally leveraging latest in AI/Machine Vision/Robotics.
  • Solid Software/Technology underpinnings (may currently be a CIO) to partner with and influence product development, IT and marketing.
  • EQ! Empathy and a reputation for transparency and open communication to ensure alignment between diverse HQ and remote operational teams.
  • Most importantly a TRUE Leader who can work with and mentor a young team and keep up with a market-facing, hard charging, deal-making CEO. The size and scope of the people and team aspects include: four fulfillment facilities on two coasts and growing, >400 employees + ever-growing need for retention while adding technical skill sets as new and existing facilities become highly automated.

Ideally, the COO will have come out of a sector like:

  • Meal-Kit, or delivered, prepared foods vendor
  • Grocery/Retail – moving items from pallet to box/crate to get from farm/purveyor to store is a great proxy
  • eCommerce – ideally with the scale and complexity of an Amazon
  • Food Service – think Aramark, Sysco, US Foods, etc.
  • Heavily assembled manufacturing